Stem cell procedures are an excellent method to treat elbow tendonitis thanks to the natural repair and regeneration. Be it tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, tendonitis is traced to chronic inflammation of an elbow tendon. Stem cell therapy can relieve pain in the short term and restore the damaged tendon in the long term.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells differ from all other cells in our body due to their ability to become most other cells. These cells replicate into cells found in the part of the body where these are injected.
What is the source of stem cells used to treat elbow tendonitis?
Stem cells are sourced from the bone marrow, fat cells, or from amniotic fluid.
Fat and bone marrow are harvested from the patient him or herself. Amniotic fluid is harvested from a consenting mother after a scheduled c-section.
How does stem cell therapy treat elbow tendonitis?
Elbow tendonitis encompasses two types of injuries – tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) – both have their origin in tendinitis or degeneration of musculature leading to chronic inflammation of elbow tendons. Tennis elbow occurs in the outer tendons, while golfer’s elbow affects the inner tendons.
Stem cells injected into the area of the injured tendon help to repair and regenerate the damage by converting into tendon cells, while also promoting new blood vessel formation.
How successful is stem cell therapy to treat elbow tendonitis?
Stem cell procedures for elbow tendonitis are popular with both golfers and tennis players.
- A study carried out by the Jefferson-based Rothman Institute showed 61% of those treated with stem cell therapy for tennis elbow had significant improvement in pain and tenderness compared to 50% in the non-stem cell group over a period of 24 weeks.
- A study attributed to researchers from South Florida attests the fact that stem cell procedures for elbow tendonitis brings down pain considerably and improves disability.
- A Stanford University study published in 2006 claims 93% improvement in chronic elbow tendonitis when stem cell procedures are used.
- A 2012 study reported 66% percent more pain relief from stem cell therapy compared to corticosteroid injections.
What are the advantages of stem cell therapy for elbow tendonitis compared to other treatments?
- Healing by the human body itself
- Non-invasive and no need for surgery
- Complete and fast recovery
- Outpatient procedure
How are stem cells to treat elbow tendonitis harvested?
Stem cells used to treat elbow tendonitis are harvested from the bone marrow or one’s fat (adipose). The procedure takes about half an hour.
Amniotic fluid is obtained from consenting mothers after a scheduled c-section. The fluid is then processed at an FDA regulated lab and cryogenically frozen until it’s time for the procedure. There are no rejection issues as the fluid is immunologically privileged.
How is the stem cell therapy for elbow tendonitis performed?
The skin above the tendon causing pain is numbed and stem cells are injected into the area. Often times, the needle is also used to “poke holes” in the bone too so bleeding is stimulated for repair. These stem cells start to multiply themselves soon after being injected. These new cells replace the old and damaged cells and anchor the repair job. The process goes on for months.
What are post-procedure cautions to be followed?
You may have to use an elbow sling for a day. Activity should be limited for approximately 48 hours, then resumed as tolerated.
What are the side effects of stem cell procedures for elbow tendonitis?
Complications are unusual and may include infection, bleeding or soreness.
Do I need more than one stem cell procedures for elbow tendonitis?
Patients usually need one stem cell procedure to treat elbow tendonitis. However, at times a second procedure may be necessary for optimal relief.
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Carvalho A de M, Badial PR, Álvarez LEC, et al. Equine tendonitis therapy using mesenchymal stem cells and platelet concentrates: a randomized controlled trial. Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2013;4(4):85.
Ho JO, Sawadkar P, Mudera V. A review on the use of cell therapy in the treatment of tendon disease and injuries. Journal of Tissue Engineering. 2014;5:2041731414549678.
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